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US Sentences Engineer in Iran Espionage Case

by VOA News October 23, 2015

An Iranian-American engineer has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for sending sensitive U.S. military documents to his native Iran.

U.S. prosecutors say Mozaffar Khazaee, who had worked as an employee of U.S. defense contractors, stole and shared with Iran information on U.S. military jet engine programs over the span of several years.

Khazaee, a 61-year-old dual citizen, was arrested in January 2014 as he tried to leave the United States with sensitive military documents in his luggage.

Khazaee told a judge in Connecticut that he was remorseful for his actions and asked for leniency. The court sentenced him to eight years and one month in prison, and ordered him to pay a $50,000 fine.

Prosecutors say an analysis of Khazaee's computer showed he send letters to multiple Iranian universities saying he had learned 'key technique[s] that could be transferred to our own industry and universities.'

They say in 2013, Khazaee attempted to send a large shipping container to Iran that included thousands of highly sensitive technical manuals, drawings and data on U.S. military jet engines.

The U.S. Justice Department says an analyses by the U.S. Air Force concluded that the 'technical data that Khazaee stole would have helped Iran 'leap forward' 10 years or more in academic and military turbine engine research and development.'

'Mozaffar Khazaee betrayed his defense contractor employers and the national security interests of the United States by stealing and attempting to send to Iran voluminous documents containing highly sensitive U.S. defense technology,' said Connecticut's top federal prosecutor, Deirdre Daly.

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